Saving comes easily to some people, and not so easily to others. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, there’s an app to help you – whether you want to make your money work harder, or simply spend less of it.
If you want to try investing
The Acorns app is a great way for newbie investors to learn about the world of shares. Link it to your card, and it will round up every payment you make and invest the change into a diversified portfolio of your choosing. You can also set up recurring daily, weekly or monthly investments, and deposit lump sums to help you grow savings. There is a small monthly fee, but it’s free to deposit and withdraw money.
If you want it to be easier
Pocketbook is a nifty little app that keeps an eye on your finances. Link it to your accounts, and set category budgets, so you can see exactly how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on. It sends notifications to congratulate you when you’re on track and warn you when you’re about to hit a budget, and lets you know when you’ve been charged an unexpected fee. The interface is simple and fun to use – not something we usually say about finance apps – and it could easily be the only one you need.
If you need help with basic budgeting
MoneySmart’s app TrackMySPEND is great if setting and sticking to budgets isn’t your forte. Use it to nominate your spending limit by week, fortnight, month or year, and track your progress. Add tags to categorise expenses by categories and set limits for each category, and identify ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ to see where you could be spending less. Extra features of TrackMySPEND are autofill capabilities, text messages to remind you of upcoming expenses, and the ability to export data to a CSV file.
If you’re already a money pro
MoneyBrilliant gives a more complete view of your finances than other apps, as you can connect not only bank accounts, but also loans, mortgages, superannuation and even loyalty cards. It then offers unbiased recommendations to help to streamline your banking. It also lets you know when your service providers increase their rates, and automatically searches for better deals on your electricity and gas. Plus, MoneyBrilliant will scan your transactions for allowable tax deductions and store images of receipts, making tax time so much easier.
If you’ve earned a treat
A key part of a budget is rewarding yourself for sticking to it! With Eat Club, restaurants offer discounts of up to 50 per cent on the total bill (including drinks!) to get seats filled on quiet nights, letting you enjoy a fancy meal without undoing all your good budgeting. If an experience is more your idea of a reward, try Groupon for huge discounts on everything from massages to movies. Just read the fine print so you don’t get caught out by Ts&Cs. Last, while not technically an app, the Honey browser extension will be your best friend if your reward is of the online shopping variety. It automatically searches the internet for coupon codes when you get to the checkout, and lets you know if you can save any money on your purchase.
All iOS and Android, free